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Bedgebury Pinetum's new cafe and visitor centre open with family run caterers ready for Easter 2015

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Bedgebury Pinetum view from Visitor Centre

Award-winning Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest run by the Forestry Commission and located in Goudhurst, Kent, will be opening the doors to its new Bedgebury Café in time for Easter 2015.

The new café and visitor centre, part of a 2-year £600,000 redevelopment, will have stunning views from its lakeside location across the unique landscape of the National Pinetum.

The newly-appointed catering tenants, with over 30 years of catering experience, are working hard to get the Bedgebury Cafe open in time for the Easter holidays. As a family run business, along with their three daughters, son in-law and son, John and Sally Hall will be bringing a personal touch to the service they provide, including introducing some delicious new homemade dishes, as well as cakes and specialty scones. They will maintain the Forestry Commission’s focus of sourcing sustainable and local products and will be offering a wide range of catering across the whole site at Bedgebury, including refreshments and ice cream sales at the play area, and catering for children’s parties.

John Hall, Bedgebury Cafe Manager says:

“We’re very excited about taking on the Bedgebury Café because it is such an incredible opportunity to create something special in a unique location. We want to build a reputation for the Bedgebury Café to be a destination, where the food and service are as good as the Pinetum’s views.”

The new café has quadrupled its capacity to host 100 customers and will feel much more inviting and spacious with new glazing on the verandas and the central atrium. The building has been constructed in line with Bedgebury's sustainability principles and the atrium will have under floor heating provided by biomass sourced from the sustainable timber of Bedgebury forest.

Dominic O’Connor Robinson, Bedgebury Manager says:

“We’re really excited about the development of the café. It is a positive change for Bedgebury and one that will have a dramatic impact on the experience for our visitors, providing improved facilities across the site and all through the year. We are very pleased to now have our cafe tenants in place as well and I am confident that they will embrace this opportunity to redefine the catering experience here.”

The site, in the heart of Kent, has seen an exceptional growth in popularity since its visitor centre opened in 2006, and can now proudly claim to be one of the most popular visitor attractions in Kent with in excess of 300,000 visits every year.

Redevelopment of visitor centre and the new Bedgebury Café, along with new play facilities and significant financial investment in the mountain bike trails, car park and signage over the last 18 months means that the popular attraction will be able to continue to meet its customers' expectations of high quality facilities and services making Bedgebury 'the place to be' in 2015.

- ENDS –

Notes to Editor

Building works started in October last year and the final finished building will be the product of 2 years of planning and delivery.

As well as the extended and refurbished café, a new bespoke kitchen extension has been added and further outdoor sheltered seating areas built into the rear of the building, as well as a ‘grab and go’ hatch which has been added to the side of the new cafe to allow for a speedy refreshment service for cyclists and dog walkers.

The atrium will also house some beautiful new interpretation that tells the story of Bedgebury and gives a fascinating insight into the valuable international conservation work that it carries out supported by the Forestry Commission and the Friends of Bedgebury.

Alongside the new building the tenancy for the cafe has been re-let as part of the Forestry Commission's open tender process.

Investment in the cafe and visitor centre facilities at Bedgebury is just one part of an ongoing investment plan. This year will also see the completion of  over £100,000 worth of upgrades and improvements to the cycle trails, a less glamorous but equally important upgrade to the sewage treatment works, and a £40,000 investment is being made to the play trail with the reinstatement of the much loved Rope Swinger and a new 'Ant’s nest' play feature.

Bedgebury has recently been awarded one of 57 VisitEngland accolades in recognition of their quality visitor experience and welcome to the visitor attraction. The VisitEngland accolades, introduced for the first time in October 2014, are awarded to attractions across the country that are part of the Visitor Attractions Quality Scheme and are allocated through a scoring system based on an annual assessment by VisitEngland. They recognise outstanding attractions going the extra mile to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for visitors.

Media Contact and enquires: Sandra Styles,

1. For more information about Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest please visit or contact:

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at

3. VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. They work in partnership with the tourism industry to develop the visitor experience across England.  For corporate information please visit and for consumer information visit

4. About Bedgebury:
Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in the High Weald of Kent is the perfect place for healthy outdoor activity.

Home to the National Conifer Collection, Bedgebury National Pinetum is recognised as one of the most complete collections of conifers on one site anywhere in the world, and contains over 12,000 tree specimens growing across 320 acres including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. The Pinetum contains some 91 vulnerable or critically endangered species and five NCCPG National Collections (Yew, Juniper, Thuja, Lawson Cypress and Leyland Cypress) as well as some of the oldest and largest examples of conifers in Britain.

The Pinetum provides a beautiful and tranquil setting to enjoy walks and picnics giving enormous pleasure to all those who visit it all year round. This is brought to life with Seasonal Trails which highlight particular points of interest and hidden gems amongst the collection. A network of paths throughout enables easy access for all levels of ability.

Open all year, Bedgebury Forest covers around 20,000 square metres of forest and offers facilities for people of all ages and abilities for walking, running, family cycling, mountain biking, an adventure play area which is themed around the great plant-hunters of the Victorian era, Go Ape, and horse riding, creating one of South East England’s premier sites for healthy outdoor activity.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the 9km family scenic cycle route through the forest, with a 4km short loop ideal for younger and less experienced cyclists.  A 13km single track mountain bike trail has been specially designed, and recently improved, with built structures designed to challenge a rider's ability and technical skills and provide an exhilarating experience.

Bedgebury offers a unique learning opportunity and is the ideal place for people to learn about trees, the environment and themselves. The dedicated Learning Team provides facilities for staff led and self led group and school visits, self led family trails throughout the Pinetum, and family events throughout the school holidays.

The Visitor Centre serves both the National Pinetum and Forest. It features catering, a cycle hire shop (including adapted cycles), toilets, showers, a bike wash area, a visitor information centre and a classroom/community room.